Public booking for Glyndebourne’s new season opens online at 6 pm on Sunday, March 3rd and at 10 am on Monday, March 4th for an enticing Festival which marks 25 years of the new Glyndebourne opera house, unveiled in 1994 and ever since allowing 1,200 people a night to enjoy stellar performances and innovative productions in its warm, intimate atmosphere and with its bright, crisp acoustic. Fittingly for this anniversary year, the 2019 Festival features a new production of a Mozart opera – the composer with whom the house is most associated.
There are three new productions in all, and three revivals, and the season begins with Berlioz’ La damnation de Faust, in a house ‘first’ which gives a rare chance to see the work fully staged – a most fitting way to mark the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death. Richard Jones directs, with Allan Clayton as Faust and Christopher Purves as Méphistophélès; Robin Ticciati conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra in what is sure to be a great occasion given these participants.
Next up is Fiona Shaw’s beautiful, challenging production of Massenet’s Cendrillon, first seen on the Tour, and for this Festival premiere graced with two house favourites in Kate Lindsey’s Prince Charming and Danielle de Niese’s Cendrillon. The LPO will be conducted by John Wilson, making his first appearance at the Festival.
The new production by Barbe & Doucet of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, promises a “…fresh and playful look at the opera’s troublesome gender politics.” One’s heart sinks – or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, this is an eagerly-awaited event, especially with Caroline Wettergreen as Queen of the Night, and Brindley Sherratt as Sarastro. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment will be conducted by Antonello Manacorda.
The three revivals are Annabel Arden’s 2016 Il barbiere di Siviglia, with the LPO conducted by Rafael Payare; Melly Still’s romantic, striking version of Dvořák’s Rusalka, with Sally Matthews as the nymph and Patricia Bardon as Ježibaba – Robin Ticciati conducts the LPO – and finally, Robert Carsen’s funny, action-packed version of Handel’s Rinaldo, with Elizabeth DeShong in the title role and the OAE conducted by Maxim Emelyanychev.
Glyndebourne continues to do a great deal to shed its image of being only for the rich or posh; no one will bat an eyelid if you show up wearing H&M and bearing a Sainsbury’s picnic in your bag, nor will you have to pay a fortune to experience this glorious place, especially if you are under 30 – and whatever you pay for your ticket, it not only entitles you to an evening at the opera, you also get to enjoy the fabulous grounds and, if the weather is good, sit by the lake or the ‘ha-ha.’ Of course, if you really want to make an entrance in your Prada and flash your champers about in the dinner interval, you won’t be alone – Glyndebourne is always worth celebrating.